St. Martin's, Oct 2002, 23.95, 256 pp.
After working a free lance public relations job in London for over a month, Agatha Raisin is glad to return to her quaint college in Carsley in England. Still hurting from her divorce, she doesn't even try to get acquainted with her new handsome neighbor Paul Chatterton. One day while she is relaxing in her garden with her two cats, Paul approaches her about investigating a house the owner claims is haunted.
Feeling ennui, Agatha agrees to examine the woman's claims but when mist starts appearing in the living room in the middle of the night, Agatha gets scared and runs off. A few days later, the woman is found dead and when Paul and Agatha attend the inquest, they learn she was murdered. Paul eggs Agatha into snooping around with him and they quickly find out that the woman had a lot of enemies including her own children. Yet when a suspect is arrested, Agatha thinks the police have the wrong person and starts digging deeper and in the process almost gets killed by a very determined murderer.
Fans of the Agatha Raisin mysteries will understand why they are so addictive but first time readers of this series should note that once they are finished with this novel, the reader will want to immediately obtain the complete backlist. The heroine may be contrary, ornery and raunchy but she takes no guff from anyone. She tries to project an image of a hard woman but inside she is vulnerable and lonely which is why readers care so much about her.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner